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Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 12431257

Methane generation in landlls

Nickolas J. Themelis, Priscilla A. Ulloa
Earth Engineering Center and Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA Received 1 July 2005; accepted 15 April 2006 Available online 2 August 2006

Abstract Methane gas is a by-product of landlling municipal solid wastes (MSW). Most of the global MSW is dumped in non-regulated landlls and the generated methane is emitted to the atmosphere. Some of the modern regulated landlls attempt to capture and utilize landll biogas, a renewable energy source, to generate electricity or heat. As of 2001, there were about one thousand landlls collecting landll biogas worldwide. The landlls that capture biogas in the US collect about 2.6 million tonnes of methane annually, 70% of which is used to generate heat and/or electricity. The landll gas situation in the US was used to estimate the potential for additional collection and utilization of landll gas in the US and worldwide. Theoretical and experimental studies indicate that complete anaerobic biodegradation of MSW generates about 200 Nm3 of methane per dry tonne of contained biomass. However, the reported rate of generation of methane in industrial anaerobic digestion reactors ranges from 40 to 80 Nm3 per tonne of organic wastes. Several US landlls report capturing as much as 100 Nm3 of methane per ton of MSW landlled in a given year. These ndings led to a conservative estimate of methane generation of about 50 Nm3 of methane per ton of MSW landlled. Therefore, for the estimated global landlling of 1.5 billion tones annually, the corresponding rate of methane generation at landlls is 75 billion Nm3. Less than 10% of this potential is captured and utilized at this time. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Landll gas; Renewable energy; Municipal solid waste; Biogas; Methane emissions

Corresponding author. Tel.: 1 212 854 2138; fax: 1 212 854 5213.

E-mail addresses: (N.J. Themelis), (P.A. Ulloa). 0960-1481/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2006.04.020

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1. Introduction Part of the methane generated in landlls can be captured and used as a renewable energy source. In contrast, when methane is allowed to escape to the atmosphere, it has a global warming potential that IPPC [1] estimates to be 23 times greater than that of the same volume of carbon dioxide. In his 2003 review of energy recovery from landll gas, Willumsen [2,3] reported that as of 2001 there were about 955 landlls that recovered biogas or landll gas. The largest number existed in the US followed by Germany and United Kingdom (Table 1). The capacity of most landll gas-fuelled generators ranged from 0.3 to 4 MW. While the largest biogas plant in the world is at the Puente Hills landll, close to Los Angeles California; the biogas is combusted in a steam boiler that powers a 50-MW turbine generator [4]. Willumsen also provided detailed information on 21 landlls in Denmark that in total captured about 5800 Nm3 of biogas/h, equivalent to 27.4 MW of contained thermal energy. For comparison purposes, Denmark captures 20,000 tonnes of methane/y, while the US captures 2,600,000 tonnes. 1.1. US landlling In 2002, the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University collaborated with BioCycle journal in a US-wide survey of the amount of municipal solid wastes (MSW) generated in the US and how they were disposed [5,6]. The results are summarized and compared with USEPA values [7] in Table 2 below.
Table 1 Energy recovering landlls [3] Country United States Germany United Kingdom Sweden Holland Italy Canada Australia Denmark Norway Austria France Spain Switzerland Finland Poland Brazil Czech Republic Hungary China Total Number of plants 325 150 135 70 60 40 25 25 21 20 15 10 10 10 10 10 6 5 5 3 955

N.J. Themelis, P.A. Ulloa / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 12431257 Table 2 Generation and fate of MSW in the US [57] 14th SOG survey [3,4] Million tonnes/yr Amount Amount Amount Amount generated recycled and composted to waste-to-energy landlled 336 90 26 220 (%) 100 26.7 7.7 65.6 USEPA 2001 survey [5] Million tonnes/yr 211 65 27 119 (%) 100 30.8 12.8 56.4 1245

1.2. Global landlling The per capita generation of MSW in the US of 1.19 tonnes is twice as large as the total generation (i.e. before any recycling) of MSW per capita in the afuent nations of E.U. and Japan. This is expected because the consumption of materials and fossil fuels in the US, with 5% of the world population, amounts to 2025% of the total global consumption. To arrive at a rough estimate of global landlling, we started with the known rate of landlling in the US (220 million tonnes). The European Union (EU), and the rest of the golden billion who enjoy a high standard of living generate an estimated 420 million tonnes of MSW of which at least 210 million tonnes (50%) are landlled. Waste management studies in developing nations, including some in Africa, have shown that the MSW generation is always higher than 0.2 tonnes per capita, most of which is food and yard wastes and is landlled. This results in the estimate of 1080 million tonnes for the 5.4 billion people in the developing world. Adding up these estimates indicates that the global MSW landlled is somewhere close to 1.5 billion tonnes of MSW. 2. Landll dumps and regulated landlls Broadly, landlls can be classied into two types. The most common ones, still used throughout the developing world, consist of dumps where the MSW is deposited until it reaches a height that for esthetic or technical reasons is considered to be the desirable maximum. After closing a landll, some soil is deposited on top. In October 1988, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) reported to the Congress that municipal solid wastes were landlled in nearly 6,500 landlls. Although these landlls used a wide variety of environmental controls, they posed signicant threats to groundwater and surface water resources, as well as health effects due a threat to air and water. To address these concerns, and standardize the technical requirements for MSW landlls, USEPA promulgated revised minimum federal criteria for MSWLFs on October 9, 1991 [8]. As a result of these more stringent regulations, many of the smaller landlls were closed and at the present time there are only 1767 landlls EPA [7]. Large landll operations have taken advantage of economies of scale by serving large geographic areas and accepting other types of wastes, such as commercial solid waste, non-hazardous sludge, and industrial non-hazardous solid wastes. In 2000, an estimated 75% of the US municipal solid waste was deposited in 500 large landlls [9]. Regulated landlls are provided with impermeable liners and caps, and leachate collection and treatment systems. Also, a system of gas wells and pipes collects as much as

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possible of the landll gas (LFG) and conveys it to a boiler or turbine where it is combusted to generate heat or electricity, or is simply ared. When the landlled area reaches its maximum height, it is covered with an impervious layer so as to minimize entry of rainwater and, thus, continuation of the bioreactions within the landll. Also, US landll operators are required to continue collecting and treating gas and liquid efuents for a period of 30 years after closure of the landll. A variation of the regulated landll that is being tested in the US with some measure of success is the bioreactor landll. In this case, instead of preventing water from entering, the aqueous efuent is recirculated and distributed throughout the landll. The objective is to accelerate the rate of biochemical degradation of the MSW, thus increasing the generation of methane gas and, because of increased settling, the storage capacity of the landll. The European requirements for non-hazardous, Class II landlls are similar to the US and are based on the standards established by French regulations in January 1996. However, the EU Landll Directive of 1999 [10] requires that in the near future, landlling be limited to inert materials that are not biodegradable or combustible. Nevertheless, it may take decades before this directive is applied in the new nations joining the EU, so the generation of landll gas will continue for the foreseeable future. In contrast to the EU and Japan, landlling remains the preferred means of MSW disposal in the US. 3. Composition of biomass in MSW Table 3 is based on the characterization of US MSW [7]. Biomass materials, i.e. paper, food and yard wastes, wood, leather, cotton and wool, constitute 69.5% of the MSW and petrochemicals another 15%. The rest are inorganic materials such as metals, glass, gypsum, and other minerals. By using the ultimate (atomic) analysis of various types [11] of wastes and the atomic weights of the respective elements, it was possible [12] to derive the composite molecular formulae corresponding to mixed food wastes and paper: Mixed food and green wastes: C6H9.6O3.5N0.28 S0.2. Mixed paper: C6H9.6O4.6N0.036 S0.01. It can be seen that sulfur and nitrogen are relatively minor components and occur principally in mixed and green food wastes. Also, if one excludes nitrogen and sulfur, the molecular structure of mixed paper is very close to cellulose, (C6H10O5)x. If one excludes
Table 3 Characterization of US MSW by USEPA [7] Biomass components Paper/board Wood Yard trimmings Food scraps Cotton, wool, leathera Total biomass (%) 36.2 5.8 12.1 11.7 3.7 69.5% Petrochemical components Plastics Rubber, nylon, etc.a (%) 11.3 3.7

Total man-made


a Rubber, leather and textiles category of USEPA was assumed to be divided equally between natural and manmade products.

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the minor elements, the average molecular structure of organic compounds in MSW can be approximated by the molecular composition C6H10O4 [12]. It is interesting to note that this composition corresponds to the structural formula of at least ten organic compounds, such as ethyl butanedioic acid, succinic acid, adipic acid, ethylene glycol diacetate, and others. The thermodynamic heat of formation of most of these compounds is about 960 MJ per kmol. Landll gas is a product of biodegradation of refuse in landlls, and it contains primarily methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), with trace amounts of non-methane organic compounds (NMOC) that include air pollutants and volatile organic compounds [13]. Table 4 shows the main compounds and their proportion of LFG. 3.1. Anaerobic biodegradation of MSW in landlls Shortly after MSW is landlled, the organic components start to undergo biochemical reactions. In the presence of atmospheric air, that is near the surface of the landll, the natural organic compounds are oxidized aerobically, a reaction that is similar to combustion because the products are carbon dioxide and water vapor. However, the principal bioreaction in landlls is anaerobic digestion that takes place in three stages. In the rst, fermentative bacteria hydrolyze the complex organic matter into soluble molecules. In the second, these molecules are converted by acid forming bacteria to simple organic acids, carbon dioxide and hydrogen; the principal acids produced are acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid and ethanol. Finally, in the third stage, methane is formed by methanogenic bacteria, either by breaking down the acids to methane and carbon dioxide, or by reducing carbon dioxide with hydrogen. Two of the representative reactions are shown below. Acetogenesis C6 H12 O6 ! 2C2 H5 OH 2CO2 : Methanogenesis CH3 COOH ! CH4 CO CO2 4H2 ! CH4 2H2 O: (2) (3) (1)

The maximum amount of natural gas that may be generated during anaerobic decomposition can be determined from the approximate, simplied molecular formula that was, presented above: C6 H10 O4 1:5H2 O 3:25CH4 2:75CO2 :
Table 4 Composition of landll gas [13] Compound Methane (CH4) Carbon dioxide (CO2) Nitrogen (N2) Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) Non-methane organic compounds (NMOC) Average concentration (%) 50 45 5 o1 2700ppmv


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This reaction releases a very small amount of heat and the product gas contains about 54% methane and 46% carbon dioxide. The biogas, or landll gas, also contains water vapor near the saturation point corresponding to the cell temperature, plus small amounts of ammonia, hydrogen sulde and other minor constituents. Therefore, in order for anaerobic reaction to continue, it is necessary to supply the principal reagent, water. The ratio of the molecular weights of the composite organic compound (MW 146) and water (MW 18) in Eq. (4) indicates that each kilogram of water can react biochemically with 5.4 kg of organics. Since on the average, MSW contains at least 20% moisture, there is just about sufcient moisture to react the contained biomass. However, the anaerobic bacteria thrive at water concentrations above 40%, so continuous addition of water is required. 3.2. Generation of methane per tonne of MSW The typical MSW of Table 3 contains 69.5% of biomass materials. This includes the contained moisture and inorganic dirt particles. Assuming that the dry organics amount to 60% of the biomass results in the estimate of 417 kg (2.86 kmol) of C6H10O4 /tonne of total MSW. A simple material balance based on Eq. (4) shows that complete reaction of one tonne of MSW would generate 208 standard cubic meters of methane biogas or 0.149 tonnes of methane (1 kmol of CH4 is equal to 22.4 Nm3). We shall now compare the above theoretical numbers with reported data of anaerobic digestion in the literature. The rate of biodegradation of MSW in landlls was studied by Barlaz et al. [14] in small pilot plant columns that provided ideal temperature and concentration conditions for bioreaction. As shown in Fig. 1, the reaction peaked at less than one hundred days and was nearly complete after about 320 days. Barlaz [15] estimated that the total amount of gas generated during this period was 213 Nm3
1.40 1.20 M1 mL CH4/day-day gm 1.00 0.80 0.60 0.40 0.20 0.00 0 100 200 Day 300 400 M2 Methane Rate

Fig. 1. Generation of methane in experimental apparatus simulating landll bioreactions (M1 and M2 denote two different tests; [14]).

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methane /dry tonne of biomass reacted (i.e. 0.153 tonnes methane /tonne of biomass). This number is in good agreement with the theoretical calculation presented above. An analysis of several anaerobic digestion operations by Verma [16] showed that the reported rate of generation of biogas ranged from 100 to 200 Nm3 of biogas (54108 Nm3 CH4) per tonne of wastes digested (estimated 60% biomass content). These numbers correspond to generation rates from 73 to 135 Nm3 methane per tonne of dry biomass. Therefore, during the two weeks or so of digestion in the anaerobic digestion reactor, the degree of bioreaction ranges from 35% to 65% of that projected by Eq. (4). In an earlier publication, Barlaz et al. [17] reported that methane generation rates at a landll receiving 286,000 tonnes /y ranged from 0 to 90 Nm3 /min. Assuming the mid-range rate of generation of 45 Nm3 per minute and that most of the gas is generated during the rst year after the MSW is landlled, indicates that about 83 Nm3 or 0.12 tonnes of methane were generated /tonne of MSW. It is interesting to note that the maximum capacity of landlled MSW to produce methane was reported by Franklin [18] to be 62 standard m3 of methane per tonne of MSW. 4. Estimates of global generation of methane from landlling USEPA estimated that the total anthropogenic emissions of methane were 282.6 million tonnes in 2000 [19], of which 13% or 36.7 million tonnes were due to landll emissions (Fig. 2). We will now attempt to assess the accuracy of this number. As shown earlier, the global MSW landlled was estimated at about 1.5 billion tonnes of MSW. If it is assumed, on the basis of the data presented above, that on the average the methane generation is at least 50 Nm3 of methane per tonne of MSW (i.e., at the low level of reported anaerobic digestion rates), the global generation of methane from landlled MSW is in the order of 75 billion standard cubic meters or 54 million tonnes of methane. Stern and Kaufman [20] extrapolated the 1985 estimate of Subak et al. [21] of 36 million tonnes of CH4 to earlier years, by assuming that MSW generation and landlling were

Manure 4%

Global Anthropogenic CH4 Budget by Source in 2000 Rice Natural gas 11% 15% Coal 8% Oil 1%

Enteric fermentation 28%

Solid waste 13% Waste water 10% Fuel stat, & mobile 1%

Biomass burning 5%

Biofuel combustion 4%

Fig. 2. Global anthropogenic methane [19].

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proportional to economic growth. On the basis of this assumption, and considering that the global economic growth from 1985 to 2000 was 58% [22], the 36 million tonnes of methane in 1985 extrapolate to 57 million tonnes in 2000. This number is in fairly good agreement with the 54 million tonnes estimated by the present authors and is substantially higher than the 36.7 million tonnes estimated by USEPA. 5. Capture of landll gas As mentioned earlier, modern landlls try to collect the biogas produced by anaerobic digestion. However, the number of gas wells provided is limited (US average: about 1 well / 4000 m2 of landll [18]), so that only part of the biogas is actually captured. Table 5 presents reported captured and estimated loss of methane for 25 landlls in California. The landlled MSW is reported by California Integrated Waste Management Board [23] and the captured biogas was reported by Berenyi [24] and converted to methane by multiplying by 54%. On the average, the captured methane amounted to 43 Nm3 per tonne of MSW and the estimated methane loss to 82 Nm3 per tonne of MSW.
Table 5 Landll methane in California [23,24] Landll name MSW (Tonnes/yr) Captured CH4 (Nm3/yr) Captured CH4 (Nm3/t MSW) Assumed generation (Nm3/t MSW) 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 122 Estimated loss CH4 (Nm3/ t MSW) 101 14 63 26 90 105 106 112 112 96 77 108 113 100 114 73 92 107 74 57 88 43 48 58 82

Altamont Scholl Canyon Azusa Puente Hills #6 Bradley Avenue West Crazy Horse Monterey Peninsula Prima Deshecha Olinda Alpha Frank Bowerman Sacramento Co (Kiefer) Colton Refuse Disposal Site San Timoteo Otay Annex Miramar Sycamore Tajiguas Newby Island Kirby Canyon Guadalupe Disposal Site Santa Cruz City Buena Vista Disposal Site Woodville Disposal Site Visalia Disposal Site Yolo County Central Average

1,157,312 412,429 157,445 3,377,867 418,341 151,258 197,797 703,051 1,877,620 1,991,666 615,702 305,682 158,405 1,267,641 1,289,295 817,255 200,084 592,877 246,902 166,915 51,191 131,775 61,368 108,327 163,841

24,001,656 50,237,893 17,056,769 200,549,669 40,190,314 4,822,838 3,351,872 11,253,288 17,862,362 20,095,157 16,076,126 13,664,707 2,154,647 11,164,869 28,334,172 6,695,706 9,766,246 17,683,738 3,633,204 8,038,063 3,351,872 4,420,935 4,822,838 8,038,063 10,449,482

21 122 108 59 96 32 17 16 10 10 26 45 14 9 22 8 49 30 15 48 65 34 79 74 64 43

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6. Generation and utilization of landll gas in the US Berenyi reported that as of 1999, there were 327 LFG-to-energy plants in the US [24]. Table 6 summarizes the different uses of landll gas. Fig. 3 shows that slightly less than three-fourths (71%) or 231 LFG-to-energy plants produce electricity. About one-fth (21%) sell their gas to a direct user, approximately 4% of the plants produce pipeline quality gas, and approximately 3% use the gas to produce synthetic fuels or for other uses. (Fig. 3).
Table 6 Utilization of landll gas [13] Direct heating applications | Use for industrial boilers | Space heating and cooling (e.g.greenhouses) | Industrial heating/coring | Processing and use in reciprocating internal combustion (RIC) engines (stoichoimetric or lean combustion) | Processing and use in microturbines, gas, and steam turbines | Processing and use in fuel cells | Conversion to methanol (industrial or vehicular use) | | | | | | Conversion to diesel fuel (vehicular fuel) Utilization as vehicular fuel Incorporation into local natural gas network Leachate evaporation system. Using organic Rankine cycle Using Stirling cycle engines

Electricity generation applications

Feedstock in chemical manufacturing processes Purication to pipeline quality gas Soil remediation Heat recovery from landll ares

Uses of LFG-to-Energy Plants in US Synfuel/Other 3%

Pipeline Quality 4%

Direct Heating 21%

Electricity 72%
Fig. 3. Types of landll gas utilization in the United States [24].

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Fig. 4 provides a breakdown of the US landll gas used for energy generation in each state. California has the largest number of landll gas facilities, with 65 plants, because of state and local requirements resulting in the collection and control gas. Other states with signicant number of plants include Illinois (43), Michigan (22), New York (20) and Pennsylvania (19). Table 7 provides some characteristics of the landll gas projects by each state. The total active area of landlls provided with landll gas collection is around 21,000 ha, while a little more than the half of this area is devoted to methane recovery (12,000 ha). The states of California, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania represent approximately 50% of total of devoted area to methane recovery. On the other hand, California, New York, Illinois, Texas and Michigan represent about 60% of total of refuse buried in landlls with gas collection. The average landll depth in the gas-collecting landlls ranges from 1453 m; the nationwide average depth is 28 m. The density of the MSW buried in these landlls ranges from 594 to 832 kg/m3, while the national average is estimated at 732 kg /m3. Table 8 provides data related with landll gas collection by state, and also considers the amount of municipal solid waste landlled annually in each state (Solid Waste Digest [25]). The largest amount of MSW landlled is landlled in California, with around 35 million tonnes /y. Other signicant landllers are Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. The total landll gas collected is around 7 billion Nm3 annually, while the landll gas processed (i.e. excluding aring) is 5 billion Nm3 annually and represents about 70% of the biogas collected. The states of California, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York represent 60% of total of landll gas processed to generate energy (heat, electricity or fuel). The heating value of untreated landll gas ranges from 464 to 591 kJ /Nm3(average: 540 kJ Nm3).

Number of LFG-to Energy Plants per State in 1999 AL CA DE HI IA LA MA MO NJ NC PA SC TX VA WI 0 10 20 30 40 Number 50 60 70

Fig. 4. Number of landll gas to energy plants per state [24].

N.J. Themelis, P.A. Ulloa / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 12431257 Table 7 Characteristics of LFG projects by state [24]
State Number of LFG Active area projects (ha) 2 5 1 65 1 5 2 12 4 1 43 4 3 3 1 2 4 16 22 5 2 6 11 20 15 6 5 19 1 4 3 8 2 7 5 12 327 236 285 57 5,746 36 147 146 697 160 17 1,743 163 210 482 304 209 233 345 1,038 190 100 158 770 1,050 723 383 531 1,496 62 84 181 865 24 347 663 546 20,426 Devoted area CH4 recovery (ha) 16 254 57 3,570 36 109 53 530 68 17 1,087 93 62 77 122 122 128 267 697 158 37 151 492 619 435 245 139 572 47 37 116 475 13 190 364 289 11,742 Refuse buried (tonnes) 1,306,359 17,418,126 4,717,409 546,179,234 27,215,821 12,655,357 8,527,624 69,971,877 15,694,457 1,195,500 117,968,430 10,886,329 11,974,961 19,958,269 n/a n/a 14,424,385 20,638,665 67,676,676 20,303,003 12,185,430 10,646,829 62,367,776 152,041,187 31,942,937 47,718,407 14,116,847 64,773,655 10,886,329 5,663,612 12,428,558 117,730,352 1,327,225 29,393,087 35,017,690 39,335,934 1,636,288,340 Average depth (m) 14 29 18 36 26 32 23 25 24 23 26 22 23 18 46 53 21 25 24 25 46 28 23 38 24 23 29 32 46 18 35 22 25 26 34 25 Average density refuse (kg/m3) 653 693 772 730 733 653 731 698 594 814 832 761 713 891 624 752 744 743 594 713 790 812 695 792 812 736 653 653 793 730 653 754 817 759


Alabama Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Texas Vermont Virginia Washington Wisconsin Total

The reported data corresponds to 36 states (modied from Berenyi). Note: n/a: no available.

7. Electricity generation The US Environmental Protection Agency(USEPA), operates a Landll Methane Outreach Program that encourages landll owners to develop gas recovery projects wherever it is feasible.USEPA estimates that over 700 landlls across the United States could install economically viable landll gas energy recovery systems, but only 380 energy recovery facilities were in place in 2004 [26]. Currently, 295 of these facilities generate electricity; the rest use landll gas for heating, reducing volume of leachate, etc.

1254 N.J. Themelis, P.A. Ulloa / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 12431257 Table 8 Landll gas capture by state [24,25] State MSW landlled (solid wastes digest) (tonnes/yr) 5,110,224 6,460,129 35,188,243 6,269,618 257,643 1,587,590 16,248,753 10,827,361 595,119 17,972,421 6,097,251 1,835,254 2,835,889 4,486,075 2,849,497 1,406,151 16,686,020 1,978,590 4,066,951 1,629,321 3,594,303 6,647,011 6,630,681 12,572,802 4,870,725 22,458,496 1,375,306 5,271,705 5,877,710 21,501,406 410,052 12,157,307 4,692,008 6,263,268 253,814,753 Landll gas captured (Berenyi) (Nm3/yr) 446,559 8,186,916 1,952,168,440 3,096,143 55,819,881 38,538,046 245,796,024 33,581,240 21,702,770 635,117,780 66,983,857 20,675,684 36,179,553 21,434,834 53,333,829 203,407,647 455,795,378 135,977,230 56,564,146 72,238,369 350,548,853 445,472,421 113,296,992 182,970,127 16,954,359 556,625,930 86,334,749 14,260,119 79,963,840 312,839,422 6,981,206 104,078,029 253,050,127 199,492,812 6,811,497,272 Landll gas used (Berenyi) (Nm3/yr) 446,559 n/a 1,408,295,409 3,096,143 20,497,060 20,675,684 189,780,153 33,581,240 21,702,770 486,899,870 21,137,128 20,675,684 36,179,553 n/a 31,005,877 111,848,156 417,920,820 131,065,081 37,213,254 72,238,369 223,279,524 336,958,573 85,221,081 124,566,158 16,954,359 363,379,983 86,334,749 11,163,976 35,665,183 278,768,621 6,981,206 77,403,568 13,099,065 184,160,952 4,901,214,602 LFG processed (%) 100 n/a 72 100 37 54 77 100 100 77 32 100 100 n/a 58 55 92 96 66 100 64 76 75 68 100 65 100 78 45 89 100 74 5 92 Heating value untreated gas (KJ) 580 531 500 514 543 501 550 563 528 547 522 554 528 n/a 543 535 559 513 580 574 534 543 552 563 520 545 570 563 591 547 475 563 464 540

Alabama Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Texas Vermont Virginia Washington Wisconsin Total reporting

Through the Outreach Program, USEPA is working with municipal solid waste landll owners and operators, states, utilities, industry and other federal agencies to lower the barriers to economic landll gas energy recovery. Table 9 compares the electricity generated by landll gas to energy plants in each state according to Berenyi [24] and USEPA [26]. The amount of landll gas processed is around 5 billion Nm3 (Table 8), and generates about 912,000 kW, equivalent to 8 billion kWh / annum (Table 9).

N.J. Themelis, P.A. Ulloa / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 12431257 Table 9 Electricity generation by using LFG [24,26] State Electricity produced (kW) Berenyi 1999 Alabama Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota 4,000 18,425 237,570 800 9,840 1,500 19,800 5,400 3,000 177,766 7,525 8,500 3,000 n/a 7,250 27,650 79,900 25,800 USEPA 2005 n/a 10,350 255,935 n/a 5,000 n/a 39,830 7,400 n/a 153,934 21,585 6,400 n/a 10,400 8,050 37,744 72,300 24,200 Missouri Nebraska New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Texas Vermont Virginia Washington Wisconsin Total State Electricity produced (kW) Berenyi 1999 800 n/a 15,700 48,900 46,047 10,350 8,500 5,660 46,350 12,000 n/a 7,000 15,600 1,500 14,600 15,700 29,000 911,433 USEPA 2005 n/a 3,200 13,800 45,700 48,300 11,600 36,200 5,600 68,400 17,000 8,400 7,200 57,656 1,200 31,800 15,200 47,375 1,071,759 1255

In the more recent survey by USEPA [24] the amount of electricity generated from landll gas was estimated at 1.07 GW.

8. Conclusions On the basis of the theoretical and experimental information presented above, it can be assumed that, under the right conditions, at least 50% of the latent methane in MSW can be generated within one year of residence time in a landll, while the landlled area is not capped and rainfall can penetrate into the landlled mass. This would correspond to about 50 Nm3 of methane /tonne of a typical MSW. However, the 25 California landlls that we examined in detail captured only 43 Nm3 of methane per tonne landlled. Of course, conventional landlls are far from perfect bioreactors. Also, we have no information as to the effectiveness of the gas collection of these landlls. Nearly three hundred eighty landlls in the US capture 3.7 billion Nm3 of methane (2.6 million tonnes) of which 70% is used to generate thermal or electrical energy. The rest is ared, because it is not considered to be of economic use. There are nearly 1400 landlls that do not capture any biogas. If it were possible to build and operate bioreactor landlls, where water is added and nearly all the generated methane is captured, the methane collected in the US, at an assumed average rate of 50 Nm3 of methane per tonne of MSW, would amount to 11 billion Nm3 of methane, i.e. three times the amount that is presently captured. With regard to the global picture, an ongoing study [27] estimated the global disposition of MSW in landlls to be 1.5 billion tons of MSW. The corresponding generation of methane is estimated to about 50 million tonnes, of which only a total of 5 million tonnes

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are captured at this time. Therefore, methane emissions to the atmosphere are in the order of 45 million tonnes. Since methane has 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2), global landll emissions correspond to about one billion tonnes of CO2. Acknowledgements The authors gratefully acknowledge the provision of experimental data and other assistance of Prof. Morton Barlaz of North Carolina State University, the compilation of landll biogas data by Dr. Eileen Berenyi of Governmental Advisory Associates, and the support of research at Columbia University by the Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council ( References
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